Today's version of "let's focus on some seemingly off the wall crap so that you don't look at the actual malfeasance I'm performing right in front of you," our esteemed President-Elect suggests that he "won" the entirely irrelevant popular vote, you see, because "millions of illegal voters" voted for his opponent (even as he chides his opponents for demanding a recount in the states with the closest margins) all while questioning the legitimacy of an election he won; our friend Joe Gandelman has a round-up.
In short, we have a small-time grifter with small hands in the rather shocking position of being able to trade national policy to advance his own business interests (yes, I know this is what Hillary Clinton was accused of... ain't American great?)... and it appears that he is doing exactly that, complete with refusing to place his assets in a blind trust and having his business heir apparent (that would be his daughter Ivanka) sitting in on transition meetings, thereby assuring that his governmental policies (whatever they might be) harmonize with his business interests.
What can we do about it?, you ask. With this "crazy like a fox"... president-elect... keep your eyes on the prize, or to the point, "follow the money." God knows that's what he's doing.
When/if the "Muslim Registry" gets going, I, and, I hope, my family and everyone I know (including, well, you) will register as well, whether you self-identify as Muslim or not. Evil cannot be cooperated with; like the Danes who all donned yellow stars during the Nazi occupation, resistance is not futile.
Our nation has decided to express its pique towards a haughty and unresponsive Establishment in a uniquely self-destructive way... we as individuals (the majority of whom who voted, voted against this)... simply do not have to cooperate.
Herr Drumpf himself, of course, does not (and apparently never did) follow the rules of polite and civilized society (while he perhaps, but not necessarily, violates written laws); there is a huge chasm between actual law-breaking and simply not cooperating. In this case, I suggest we follow Il Douché's example, and show him just how much fun it will be to govern a populace that has no interest in cooperating in its "governance."
Say what you will about Castro, the world's longest serving communist leader, a man who was both repressive and innovative-- who put his nation in the position of having to "go it alone" against an American embargo, but proved it could do it (with impressive feats in healthcare, literacy and environmental sustainability-- all by necessity), but almost no one aware of him does not have strong feelings. I felt at the time, and still do, that President Obama's decision to reopen diplomatic relations with Cuba was one of the signal achievements of his presidency-- our isolation of the island nation, even decades after the end of the Cold War-- was just unjustifiable.
No matter. Fidel did manage to hang on long enough to ensure that just one more Republican got just enough Cuban-American votes to win Florida, and hence the presidency. Perhaps ensuring that Castro got the last laugh, after all. Gracias, el Jefe. Muchas gracias.
I'll give you this thematic piece of E.J.Dionne from WaPo called "How to Prevent Thanksgiving Armageddon" implying that "right-thinking people" should "gently chide" Trump supporters on issues such as the Donald's business conflicts of interest, apparent support of racism (and the clear support of him by racists), and the man's personal vindictiveness... far be it for me, but I'm inclined to replay what they said after the 2000 election ("get over it") a phrase I wish we would have heard after the 2008 election. While I wish Jill Stein well in her recount efforts, I think we have an outcome. And as I expected, we have the Donald signalling us in his personnel moves that he will select the mix of party regulars, party maniacs and rich Republican donors (not to mention Trump loyalists) that we would expect him to do. Dark times are coming-- but not dramatically darker than what we should be used to by now.
It's not as if this was a good versus evil election, folks: it was an evil versus really evil election, and really evil happened to win by the vagaries of which votes counted (flyover country) and which did not (the coastal elites... from which WaPo, Grey Lady, etc. live out their lives in the bubble). The scary part for me is that the White-supremacist/nativist/racist/misogynist/homophobic/anti-semitic strain in this country, that's surprisingly large, might feel that it has open season to act out, evidence for which has already been showing itself. And the only reaction is to accept none of it without an overwhelming response: not one little thing.
BTW... I agree with Rebecca Traister that blaming Clinton supporters for her loss is a mistake, the reason is Clinton herself. She was a horrible candidate who garnered no actual human connection with anyone outside the billionaire Hollywood/Hamptons bubble, and who, despite being unbelievably vulnerable in a "character election," chose to run one anyway out of her own ego. What a surprise when millions of people (I'm talking Obama voters) who felt screwed by neo-liberal Clintonian policies took a chance on an "outsider," even an extremely evil one. May this be the last election in which we ever even hear her name. Or else... we can blame who we want... we will just lose again.
The hell with avoiding Armageddon: some of us are itching for a fight. In our family, that probably involves talking about Israel ❤️ Trump... just saying...
1. Trump charged some students as much as $30,000 a year for tuition at his so-called university, in return for which they got nothing of value. The Better Business Bureau gave the “university” a D-minus rating.
As George Takei of Star Trek fame tweeted, Trump probably made $150 million with this educational fraud, even after paying the settlement....
5,000 defrauded students, at $35K each = $175mil. Settled for $25mil, walks away with $150mil. This is our crooked Prez.
2:50 PM - 20 Nov 2016
What Mr. Takei did not say is that even the $25 mn. settlement can be taken off Trump’s taxes! This is the man who ran on lowering student debt— but who created debt for 5,000 students, and useless debt (many indebted students at least do have a real degree).
2. A Neo-Nazi conference was held in Washington this weekend to celebrate Trump’s win, in which there were actually “Heils” shouted out from the audience and anti-Jewish statements were made. These white supremacists go by the name alternative right or alt-right by which they mean that they are to the right of the conservatives. The corporate media, in accordance with the project of normalizing Trumpism, has been willing to refer to them by this term that they themselves chose for propaganda purposes. But they are just white supremacists with a nostalgia for 1930s Germany.
3. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) threatened to take the incoming Trump administration to court if they engaged in waterboarding, which is included in international law as a form of torture. Trump ran on a platform of using torture, and at one point promised to bring back waterboarding. His nominee as head of the Central Intelligence Agency, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), has said he does not consider waterboarding to be torture, and affirmed that it is constitutional. (The Bill of Rights forbids cruel and unusual punishment, and the US is signatory to treaties and instruments that ban torture).
4. Attorney-General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions is linked to a galaxy of far right wing anti-immigration groups
5. Members of the Israeli cabinet are coming out in favor of white supremacist Steve Bannon, the new White House propagandist under Trump. Bannon’s Breitbart.com and the Neofascist tendency it represents have often engaged openly in bashing Jews. (Bannon says that Breitbart is an organ of the “alt-right,” the Neofascist strain referenced in “2” above). Like many white nationalists, however, they support Israeli squatters against brown Palestinians, and this is the basis on which PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s extremist cabinet is willing to give them a pass. The term “Antisemite” is now reserved by the Zionist right wing only for human rights critics of the theft of Palestinian land and resources, and is not applied to actual bigots who are prejudiced against, you know, like . . . Jews. This development is not exactly shocking, since the Likud Party’s “revisionist” Zionist has roots in the 1930s mass political movements and is influenced by fascist thinking of that era.
As Trump is a master showman, this sort of sleight of hand comes easily and naturally; we will be quite used to it in the coming years, to be sure.
These are clearly dark times; pretending otherwise will only make them darker. The last fifteen years would seem to be a mere dress-rehearsal. This is no longer a drill (just in case you thought that massive, total electronic surveillance, indefinite detention ,and perpetual war were some kind of academic exercise). An unbelievably broad and powerful means-of-autocracy has now been handed to someone who has shown no evidence of either the discipline or character not to abuse the crap out of them. Let's not pretend otherwise. You don't have to be Muslim, or Mexican, or female, or of color to be threatened... just a person of character and good will. We're going to test the tensile strength of our Constitution and institutions of civil society (what's left of them, anyway)... where will you stand?
"Make America Hate Again" was one of the mocking variations of the Donald's primary campaign slogans suggested by Hillary (at least at her convention.) It does seem to be all too prophetic, certainly in what was once the peaceable kingdom of this part of Brooklyn, anyway.
Josh Marshall reports on the cluster-fuckery going on over in Trumpland viz "the transition," to wit, actual national security expert former Congressman Michael Rogers is out because of "his ties to Chris Christie." What ties are those? None, really, except Christie asked him, as a seasoned Republican hand, to be part of the transition. But Christie is out now. Because of the Bridgegate Scandal, you say? Oh no... the Donald's son-in-law Jared Kushner has a vendetta against Christie associated with former prosecutor Christie's prosecution of his father Charles Kushner some years ago. So, Kushner, whose qualification, like Trump's himself, is that he was born the son of a rich real estate developer, is now running the national security transition (it would seem) along with the problematic retired General Michael Flynn (fired from the Obama Administration at some point)... his qualification is that he is an extreme right-winger who evidently doesn't like Barack Obama. This, boys and girls, is the backbone of what will soon be the nation's national security apparatus.
Of course, this recent piece from my fair city's Daily News suggests that, at least as far as "swing state voters" in PA were concerned, they, previous Obama voters, supported Trump because he is a non-politician (yes, they believed his tripe about magically restoring industry and jobs... but they felt that Hillary was part of the problem, and a long-time insider, whereas non-politician the Donald was, at least, "different;" they felt that the endless reports of his awfulness went in one ear and out the other, though they seemed to accept stories of Hillary's awfulness.) If by Trump being "different", they meant completely incompetent, then I can only say, "mission accomplished."
'Twas H.L. Mencken who said, "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." To coin a phrase, indeed.
Random assorted incidents of petty violence-- often in the variety of some kind of ethnic harassment-- have been endemic both during the remarkably divisive Presidential campaign, and in light of the Trump victory (thanks again, Hillary).
This particular report, of a random male diner dashing back into a restaurant so he could punch a woman with whom he disagreed over the Trump victory, is peculiarly jarring to me, insofar as it took place within a short walk of Stately Dog Manor.
Feelings clearly remain strong. One hopes that Trump supporters will at least try to be good sports about their man winning teh election.
In a 60 Minutes interview-cum-victory-lap, President Elect Donald "the Donald" Trump (may as well get used to that) suggests he may still use his Twitter account while President, though presumably, much more carefully and much more sparingly.
With luck, his handlers will break his short fingers, rather than let him do anything unfiltered on social media, or anything else, ever again. Can you spell "international incident"?
The man has been a discipline problem since childhood; that will have to be dealt with. As with the case of the nearly half of voters who supported Trump... each will get what they claim to want... good and hard.
Hopefully, the fact that this awful candidate (who's the narcissist, Tim Kaine? who won't listen?) has now lost to a Black man, a Jewish man (for whom she cheated to "win" by preempting the California primary) and now, she has done the ultimate-- an inexperienced and unstable P.T. Barnum clone who seemed to be trying to lose..., This means she should never be allowed in public again, let alone the Democratic Party as a candidate. But she's a Clinton: maybe only God can shut her down... because I fear she will back, poisoning her party for at least the next four years. Like she and her husband have been doing for decades.
Let's hope I'm wrong. One term of President Trump should be enough, don't you think?
I feared something like this as well... admit it... you did too... you didn't really believe polls after Brexit, now did you?
Is this what the nation needed right about now? I don't know; it is, however, what the nation has rather decisively chosen... Republican governance across the board, btw, as that party controls both houses of Congress on Trump's coattails. Regular readers know that I don't really have a pollyannish streak, but at least our relations with (nuclear armed) Russia are likely to improve dramatically. Will anything else good come out of this? Time will tell.
As we await the outcome of an election in which the favored-by-pre-election-polling candidate would go on to become our nation's first female President (and I'll be in Philadelphia tomorrow doing my small part to help that happen)... it's time to take a moment to say goodbye to our nation's first female attorney general, Janet Reno, who just passed away at age 78. Ms. Reno, who served during the entire eight years of Bill Clinton's presidency, had her share of controversies, but in the view of this former employee of the United States Department of Justice (that would be me) she acquitted herself honorably and respectably overall. Rest in peace, Ms. Reno.
And in other athletic news, your talking dog crossed the finish line of yesterday's TCS New York City Marathon shortly after 1700 EST (change your clocks if you haven't yet boys and girls), marathon no. 47 overall, and the all-important 15th N.Y.C., the number of finishes granting guaranteed entry going forward. I wore my usual Brooklyn Dodgers attire, this time with a Statue of Liberty headband around the baseball cap, signifying that this is a nation that welcomes your tired, poor, huddled masses, and doesn't want to build a damned wall to keep them out, etc., etc.
Well, Election Day awaits us tomorrow. You know what to do.
I'm not at all deterred from my intention, as I have done in 2006 and 2008, to travel to Pennsylvania on Election Day as part of the Democratic Party legal team monitoring polling activity, notwithstanding the alleged plans of "White nationalists" to deploy their own poll watchers intent on intimidating non-White voters. Interestingly, for the moment, at least for people like me [White, upper middle class, regularly employed...] , this is still mostly a free country, and, while I have more problems with her than I can count, if Hillary Clinton is elected, I can at least be assured that it will still be mostly a free country... with Herr Drumpf, given his tendencies to extremist statements and his courting of extremist support... and a party that, if it controls Congress, may well just go on a feeding frenzy... who the hell knows?
I will say that, this weekend, while finishing the Suffolk County Marathon (no. 46!) a few minutes faster than last year, I observed a goodly number of Trump/Pence signs... more, actually, than I had seen in the entire country (albeit mostly confined to points in the Northeast, as far West as swingy PA and OH and as far North as ME)... still, other than two in someone else's house on my own block here in Brooklyn, no Hillary signs... just sayin'...
Where was I? It seems to me that rumors of Republican FBI Director James Comey's professionalism and even-handedness are greatly exaggerated. Admittedly, he was put in a preposterous position earlier this year given Attorney General Lynch's hopeless conflict in the matter (thanks Bill!), but nonetheless, he did tiptoe right to the edge of propriety in commenting on the various "extremely careless" handling of emails amidst a rather damning rampage (which ended with "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring charges against Hillary Clinton). There's nothing even remotely reasonable or defensible, however., about Mr. Comey's October Sextprise [TM], that is, his abrupt, totally unvetted statement to Congress duly made public that a new trove of emails supposedly relevant to the Clinton investigation popped up on Anthony Weiner's home computer and devices, presumably shared with his estranged spouse Huma Abedin, Hillary's majorette domo... and it seems, the underage girl who received Weiner's lewd text messages now objects to the FBI Director's making her a political pawn in this (because God knows Weiner gave her up in a New York minute).
Well, six days to go... the many band-aids placed on our frayed social order, such as, oh, tolerance for people of different ethnicities, colors, genders, religions... have all been torn off, rather painfully, in the last year, year and a half. The best one can say is that maybe the wounds were festering, and getting this out in the open is the only way we can ultimately come to grips with whether, going forward, this will be a country of atavistic cracker assholes, or whether it can be something better. I'm not particularly optimistic, but I will do the little I can, and I urge you all to do the same.